André House is adorned with a large sign that says, “Making God known, loved and served.” This is a familiar quotation for me, one that I first heard as a middle school student at St. Edmond’s Academy in Delaware. The Holy Cross brothers who taught and worked at the school made sure that the students knew about Blessed Basil Moreau and St. André Bessette and I remember hearing this quotation from the brothers. Our blessed founder uses these words to describe Zeal in his writingOn Christian Educationand I do not think it is a stretch to say that this quality is critical for any kind of ministry that we undertake as Holy Cross religious.
During my first weeks at André House, I wondered if any of the guests noticed this sign and felt the significance of these words. Just a few days ago, I had a very special conversation with a guest that helped bring these words to life. I was at the Porter station for the early afternoon shift and had a little time to chat with the people since there was no one in line needing assistance. A familiar face called me over to chat and asked me to share some of my experiences about serving at André House as well as my story about how I ended up entering formation with Holy Cross to become a priest. The man was so incredibly grateful for all the staff and volunteers who provide assistance at André House. At one point in our conversation, he pointed to the quote on the side of the building and said that he thought that we all did our part to make God known, loved and served. He went on further to say that, “If we aren’t working for God, we aren’t doing anything.” This was a touching moment that helped me realize that André House is a place that does more than provide services and food. The staff and volunteers at André House make God present to the guests they serve each day.
For me this beautiful moment was both a consoling gift and also a challenge. This conversation made me think about the dozens of interactions with guests I have throughout the day. Each of these interactions is an opportunity for me to both serve God and serve my neighbor. While I may do this in many of the interactions I have, there are still some where I come up short and others where it is challenging to see how my efforts make any difference or have any kind of positive impact on the lives of our guests. There is no quick fix solution to make me the perfect minister, but I know that if I keep following the guest’s advice of always working for God, I will be more able to make him known, loved and served.
Ed Dolphin, C.S.C., is in his first year as a professed seminarian with the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers. He is from Wilmington, Delaware, and is placed at Holy Cross Novitiate until the fall. Before discerning with Holy Cross, he attended Drexel University where he majored in Information Systems.